The Perce

Distinguished and sonorous, the Lord Percival Arms,
derived its name from an aristocratic imbecile
who lost a fortune to gambling and dissipation
and fell off his roof, drunk as the proverbial.
Alf and Eileen Watson, industrious and resourceful,
but not too au fait with ‘current leisure trends’,
tried quizzes and raffles, and even Ladies Nights,
when Alf humped moody barrels in the cellar

not caring to see men with things out in his lounge
and his good lady Eileen screeching like a fishwife.
It was all to no avail; Alf went back to driving buses
and Eileen resumed the cafe she’d never wanted to give up.

The Brewery called in their most ruthless rescue manager,
an ex-bookie called Doug and his lovely partner Viv;
belly-dancing, karaoke, barbecues and bingo
completely alienated the darts and dominoes,

about the only regulars the dear old Perce had left.
A hedge fund bought the Brewery and then the die was cast;
Doug and Viv away to Marbella and pole dancing
and shutters replaced windows broken by kids’ stones.

Mould spread across the function room and webs over the beer pumps.
The residents blamed the Council, the Council blamed the Brewery,
the local paper talked about community hearts ripped out
and residents predicted rampant bands of squatters.

Then a building entrepreneur, Sir Joe, but just to friends,
an opportunist leech on the skin of property boom
paused his personal Beamer in the Perce’s crumbling car park
and saw potential out of ruin, a Phoenix in the debris.

So to Percival Close, small executive estate,
big on garden decking, conservatories and drives
with mock tudor gables and allegedly Georgian windows,
the flagship of the builder’s Heritage Collection.

There’s a stainless steel kitchen where they slapped the dommies down
and utility spaces where the dartboard used to be
and where his sizzled lordship fell headlong to his doom
solar panels lend ecological credentials.

Old men narrow eyes, neighbouring ladies aspire,
burglars mark it down for good pickings potential
and residents are discussing possible petitioning
for the well-secured space of a gated estate.

Bruce Harris

If you have any comments on this poem,  Bruce Harris would be pleased to hear from you.